Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles has proclaimed Sept.19-25 as Farm Safety and Health Week in Kentucky to encourage farmers and farm workers to put their health and safety first at all times. The theme for this year’s safety week is “Farm Safety Yields Real Results.”
“Farmers face a number of risks in the course of their work, from machinery accidents, chemical exposure, unruly livestock, grain bin entrapment, severe weather, and many others,” Commissioner Quarles said. “In Kentucky, we have made great strides to mitigate these risks to make farming safer than ever before. But one farm injury is one too many. ‘Farm Safety Yields Real Results,’ isn’t just the theme for this year’s farm safety and health week, it should be a guiding principle for our farmers. Whether you are on the farm, on the road, or in the home, please take that extra step to protect yourself and those around you.”
In addition to reminding farmers to keep safety top of mind and reminding drivers to share the road as we approach harvest season, the KDA is also embarking on a new campaign —“Raising Hope – Supporting Healthy Lives on Kentucky Farms” — that focuses strategies on the mental and physical health of agricultural producers. The campaign is made possible with appropriations from the General Assembly and partnerships with state universities and other state agencies.
With goals of developing community-based programming, education, communication and systems to support the mental and physical health of farmers and farm families, the campaign focuses on the reduction of stress, depression, and suicide among agriculture producers, along with maintaining physical safety while on the job.
Through research, prevention, intervention and community education and outreach, the project’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for Kentucky’s agricultural producers. Increasing awareness of stress among farmers, along with reducing the stigma attached to mental health issues is one way to establish community-based support systems for those who need it. In addition, it’s important to show appreciation of farmers and their families by realizing the positive impact they have on our communities. Addressing the mental health needs of farmers helps to reduce the physical injuries suffered on farms.
Kentucky’s Farm and Safety Health Week coincides with the National Farm Safety and Health Week. This week acknowledges, celebrates, and uplifts America’s farmers and ranchers who have encountered many challenges, yet continue to work hard to provide the food, fiber, and fuel the public need.